Morning News Update for Friday, 11/8/13.


Eva Longoria Sells NBC Half-Hour Starring Comedian Erik Rivera, Lifetime Drama
Eva Longoria‘s UnbeliEVAble Entertainment
has set up two more projects – a comedy at NBC and drama at Lifetime. The NBC project stars rising comedian Erik Rivera and is based on his life and standup. Comedy veteran Peter Murrieta will write the script and will executive produce with Scott Ellis, who is set to direct, and UnbeliEVAble’s Longoria and Ben Spector. The setup is reminiscent of ABC’s The George Lopez Show

The Lifetime drama, titled Blackout, is a small town soap written by Elle Triedman. It centers on a woman whose failed career leads her to return home after 10 years to the small blue collar town run by her estranged siblings. She tries to make amends with her family and her past but the murder of a teenage girl forces her to face her own demons.

Networks Unleash New Marketing Tricks This Fall
chief operating officer Joe Earley says TV marketers are adjusting to viewers’ changing habits, as audiences choose to stack shows and binge-watch them later. At CBS, the network has added clips featuring scenes from the next episode to the end of its comedies — a practice usually reserved for dramas and reality shows. NBC runs teasers touting shocking moments coming later in the episode of The Blacklist that’s currently airing, another practice common to reality shows.

(review) Variety: DirecTV’s ‘Black Mirror,’ ‘Secret State’
DirecTV continues to impress with its savvy original-programming acquisitions, the latest being a pair of U.K. imports: “Black Mirror,” a creepy and clever anthology series, informed by a slightly cracked view of technology; and “Secret State,” a familiar template for a political thriller imbued with star wattage thanks to a cast headed by Gabriel Byrne.

(ratings) Network 10PM Dramas Benefit the Most from DVR Viewing
The 10:00 PM dramas across the broadcast networks are benefiting the most from non-linear viewing, with the hour generating much higher live +7-day playback lift than shows airing in earlier time periods, according to Nielsen Media Research for the first four weeks of the 2013-2014 television season. On average, 10:00 PM programs are posting the largest lift (+41% vs. +29% for 9:00 PM shows and +21% for 8:00 PM shows).

(ratings) Fall 2013 Freshman Series Scorecard: Time Slot Gainers and Slackers
Here is a nifty graphic showing how this fall’s freshman series are doing vs. their predecessors in the time slots last year among adults 18-49, with the vast majority of the shows faring worse. Only seven newbies have improved their time periods so far — 3 at Fox, 2 at ABC and one each at NBC and the CW.


Bill Condon Tackles Two Circus-Themed Projects
The "Fifth Estate" helmer will direct a re-imagining of "Side Show" at La Jolla Playhouse and then rewrite the Hugh Jackman starrer "The Greatest Showman on Earth."

Reese Witherspoon in Talks to Star in Nancy Meyers’ ‘The Intern’
Reese Witherspoon
is in discussions to star in the Nancy Meyers-helmed The Intern. Scott Rudin is producing the independently financed film, which was originally set up at Paramount (the studio is no longer involved). Worldview Entertainment has come aboard to finance the comedy. Meyers wrote the screenplay, which centers on the owner of a successful fashion website (Witherspoon) who bonds with the elderly intern her company has hired (Robert De Niro).

‘Thor: The Dark World’ Opens Big with $7.1 Million in Thursday Showings
“Thor: The Dark World”
kicked off the weekend by taking in an estimated $7.1 million in midnight showings. Opening tops previous Thursday preview grosses for the first “Thor” ($3.2 million) and “Captain America: The First Avenger” ($4.0 million).

Murky Outlook for ‘Ender’s Game’ Sequel
The future of a sequel to Lionsgate’s “Ender’s Game remains in limbo, following a solid rather than specactular start for the sci-fi title. Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer said Friday during a conference call with analysts that the studio will “wait another week or two” before it decides whether to make another film based on the Orson Scott Card series of 13 novels. He also said that an “Ender’s Game” TV spinoff was under consideration.


NBC will air the first-ever commercial spaceflight on ‘Today’
NBC’s Today
show will air the first-ever commercial spaceflight next year. Through a deal reached with Virgin Galactic, the first commercial spaceline from Sir Richard Branson, the NBC morning show will televise Branson and his two children traveling into space on Virgin’s SpaceShipTwo. The flight will come sometime next year.


Bryan Singer’s ‘Spooked’ Digital Series Sets Director, Rounds Out Cast For 2014 Premiere
Bryan Singer’s Bad Hat Harry
has begun production on Spooked, a new digital comedic series announced at San Diego Comic-Con and set to premiere on Geek & Sundry early next year. X-Men‘s Singer and Felicia Day (The Guild) exec produce the series directed by Richard Martin and written by Michael Gene Conti. Spooked follows the misadventures of Paranormal Investigation Team (P.I.T.) as they struggle, often comically, through investigations into alleged paranormal phenomena at reportedly haunted locations across the country.


C4 renews vows with Wife, Man
The UK broadcaster has commissioned a second season of its comedy Man Down, written by and featuring British stand-up Greg Davies. Season two of the show, in which Davies plays a hapless teacher with a dysfunctional family life, will begin production next year. Avalon TV makes the series.


Disney’s Brilliant Strategy: Make Fewer Movies
has deferred moviemaking responsibility to Marvel, Pixar and Lucasfilm because those subsidiaries don’t make movies. They make juggernauts. Their movies are also video games, theme park attractions and toys. They are brands, and those brands are why Disney reported record revenue on Thursday. The fastest growing parts of Disney’s business are consumer products, theme parks and interactive.


Alloy Entertainment Hires Elysa Koplovitz Dutton To Run Feature Film Division
Alloy Entertainment
has hired Elysa Koplovitz Dutton to be vice president and run its feature film division based in Los Angeles. She reports to Leslie Morgenstein, President of Alloy Entertainment, which is now part of the Warner Bros Television Group. Dutton was most recently exec producer on the indie comedy Ass Backwards.

Exec Shuffle For 11/8/13: Universal Television, Matt Tolmach Productions, LBI Entertainment
Penchant Entertainment: Erin Eggers, Matt Porter, and Chase Hudson started this company to develop and produce film and television projects, as well as to provide funding for feature films budgeted at $10 million and under.
Universal Television: Erik Rechsteiner has joined as Director, Current Programming.
Viacom International Media Networks: Jill Offman has been promoted to Senior Vice President, Comedy, in London.
Matt Tolmach Productions: Brad Zimmerman has joined as Creative Executive.
Alcon TV: Emily Smith has been promoted to Coordinator.
CMT: Matt Trierweiler was promoted to Director, Program Development.
Essential 11: Michael O’Neill has been promoted to Vice President, Unscripted Development.
Leftfield Pictures: Ashley Adams has joined as Vice President, Production and ShawnWitt has been promoted to Vice President, Current Programming.
Julian P. Hobbs has been promoted to Vice President, Scripted and Nonfiction Development and Programming.
USA Network: Jackie de Crinis has taken on an expanded role as Executive Vice President, Original Programming, overseeing all production and development, including scripted and unscripted.
Vuguru: Lauren Corrao has joined as Chief Creative Officer.


Vulture: 10 Books to Read If You Can’t Get Enough of Your Favorite TV Shows
If you’re still devastated about the ending of Breaking Bad, or just want to start stockpiling for when Homeland or Sons of Anarchy goes off the air, this list of book equivalents of popular TV shows should help.

‘Little Miss Sunshine’ Producer: What They Don’t Tell You About Crowdfunding
David Friendly
shares the lessons from his first foray into raising money online for his sneaker documentary: "Turns out I suck at crowdfunding."